Roasted Tomato Bruschetta with Yogurt Cheese
Slow roasting concentrates the flavor of plum tomatoes and caramelizes their natural sugar. If you stop the roasting while the softened tomato halves still hold their shape, they will make a juicy topping perfectly sized to fit baguette toasts. A schmear of tangy yogurt cheese under the tomato balances the sweetness.
6 plum (Roma) tomatoes (about 1 pound), halved lengthwise
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
Kosher or sea salt
12 baguette slices, cut on the diagonal about 1/2 inch thick
3/4 cup Yogurt Cheese (see below)
Fresh basil leaves for garnish
Preheat an oven to 300°F. Put the tomatoes cut side up in a shallow baking dish just large enough to hold them in a single layer. Drizzle with the olive oil. Season with the oregano, crumbling the dried herb between your fingers to release its fragrance. Dot the tomatoes with the minced garlic and season with salt. Bake until the tomatoes are very soft and beginning to caramelize but still hold their shape, 2 to 3 hours, depending on their size and ripeness. With a pastry brush, baste the tomatoes with any pan juices—the tomatoes may not release much—every 45 minutes or so. Let cool slightly. The tomatoes are best warm, not hot.
Preheat a broiler or toaster oven. Place the baguette slices on a baking sheet and toast on both sides until golden brown.
Spread one side of each toast with 1 tablespoon Yogurt Cheese. Top with a warm roasted tomato half. (You can halve the tomatoes lengthwise first so they cover more of the toast surface.) Garnish with basil leaves and serve immediately.
Yogurt Cheese: Line a sieve or colander with a triple thickness of dampened cheesecloth. Set the sieve or colander over a bowl to collect the whey. Put a pint of whole-milk yogurt into the lined sieve or colander. Cover the bowl with a plate—you’re just protecting the yogurt, not pressing it—and refrigerate. Drain the yogurt until it is as thick as cream cheese, about 24 hours. You should have about ¾ cup of yogurt cheese.
Recipe by Janet Fletcher
Photo credit: Eva Kolenko